Wawa: a NJ institution

Thomas Tait '22

When some people think of New Jersey, things like Pork Roll vs. Taylor Ham, Bruce Springsteen, and diners come to mind. But there’s one thing that close to everyone thinks of: Wawa. Wawa is a convenience store (and in some cases gas station) that can be found in most towns across the state. It sells a wide range of food items, ranging from candy and chips to organic salad. Most have a counter where customers can order hoagies, lunch items, and specialty drinks. There’s a coffee station and some have store made donuts and croissants.

As a new resident of New Jersey, I wasn’t sure what the hype was about when I first arrived. After living in Washington Township for about two days, my dad and I went to Wawa for my first time. Ever since that first moment of being in a Wawa, I understood why people speak about Wawa with the same loving tone they use for an old friend. Since then, I’ve been to Wawa many times; each time falling more in love with the store.

Hoagies: When I first heard that Wawa sells hoagies (which is a word that still confuses me), I was impressed, but skeptical at the quality of the food. Why would a gas station/convenience store sell Subway style hoagies? I figured that the hoagie would be subpar and similar to the classic “gas station sushi” joke. This is not the case. The Wawa employees have found a way to produce a hoagie to rival Subway while maintaining the ease and quickness that is typical of a gas station or convenience store, almost reflecting the busy nature of New Jersey’s people. Wawa hoagies get a nine jug handles out of ten, higher than any other hoagie I’ve had from any other establishment. I recommend the Italian.

Coffee/Drinks: Wawa has a wide array of coffee and other drinks available for purchase. This includes milkshakes and blended coffees. They have multiple classic coffee types, with creamer, sugar, and milk available for customer use. This alone isn’t unique to Wawa, with many gas stations across the county having similar things available. Yet, Wawa manages to be better than the competition. Wawa found a way to make their self-serve coffee more efficient than any other establishment across the nation. In addition, the coffee is perfect. Never burnt, always just hot enough to drink when you get home, about ten minutes later. Wawa coffee gets a ten out of ten, the best coffee that can be found easily for less than $5.

Everything else: Wawa is a unique place in New Jersey. The attitude of the state usually remains bustling and aggressive, yet Wawa is a refuge from it all. It’s one of the few places in New Jersey where people hold the door for you when you have too many hoagies and unhealthy amounts of lemon ice-tea; and say, “Thank you!” when you reciprocate the favor.